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FIGHTING GLOBAL WARMING: THE ROLE OF BUSINESS,

INDUSTRY & THE INDIVIDUAL

WHITEPAPER

FIGHTING GLOBAL WARMING: THE ROLE OF


BUSINESS, INDUSTRY & THE INDIVIDUAL
Whats inside?
By Jeffery Nevil
2015

Pages 2-3: Global Warming


What are we really doing?
Pages 4-5: Heavy Industry
How large corporations can
reduce emissions.
Pages 6-7: Small Businesses
Ways to save energy for
small businesses.
Pages 8-9: Individuals
Reducing your own carbon
footprint.

About the author


Jeffery Nevil is a digital
copywriter and writes on
everything from sustainable
energy to B2B services to B2C
products. You can find him
on Quora and Google+.

Copyright 2015 Jeffery Nevil

Global Warming: What Are We Really


Doing?
We have been aware of global warming since 1824 when Joseph Fourier discovered that the
world would be much colder if it had no atmosphere, an average of 60 degrees Fahrenheit
cooler in fact. This study was followed by Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius discovery that
by making carbon dioxide we could enhance what came to be known as the greenhouse
effect.1 These realisations laid the foundations for over 100 years worth of studying the
earths climate, and some of the most advanced research projects seen on the earth to date.

Although the terms global warming and climate change can be used interchangeably,
global warming lays reference to the increase in the earths temperature that we have seen
due to the building up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The term climate change, on
the other hand, refers to the changes we have seen in the weather, though this is also
attributable to the effect of greenhouse gases in the earths atmosphere.2
Whilst this sounds like scientific jargon unrelated to the individual, global warming is directly
affecting the world as we know it. Scientists have calculated that every doubling of CO2
levels equates to roughly 1 degree of warming. Yet with just 1 degree of warming there is
consequence of an increased amount of water vapour and therefore clouds (also greenhouse
gases) which then further contribute to the earths temperature.3 This means that with every
1 degree of warming there is also consequential warming which further contributes to the
increasing average temperature on earth.
Although some places may benefit from an increase in temperature at first, the problem with
a warmer planet is that the polar ice caps are melting at a significantly quicker rate. This
1

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/gw-overview
http://www.carbonneutral.com/resource-hub/climate-change-summary
3
http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21574461-climate-may-be-heating-up-lessresponse-greenhouse-gas-emissions
2

Copyright 2015 Jeffery Nevil

means that water levels are increasing and, consequently, there is more water vapour in the
atmosphere. Through this cycle we are looking at heightened temperatures and far more
erratic and dangerous weather patterns. This is already having a worrying effect on coastlines
as seen in Egypt, but it is also quickly creating great pressure on crops and produce, which
could damage vital economies worldwide.
Furthermore, because there are entire ecosystems that depend on the polar ice caps, many
different food webs are consequently being threatened. Polar bears, for instance, are already
listed under the Endangered Species Act 2008 and are still becoming increasingly threatened
due to their loss of habitat. Those that have been able to survive the ice melt this far are
reportedly thinner and unable to swim the long distances between ice sheets, even without
the distances growing bigger. The problem spreads further than the top level predator too;
hundreds of other species are also being pushed out of their natural habitats in search of
cooler atmospheres, leading to pressure in feeding opportunities and overpopulation issues.
There are already 28 migratory bird species that have changed their migration patterns
which could lead to reduced or entirely missed breeding seasons.4
This paper discusses in three sections the ways that we humans are making a difference in
the ways we are heating our planet. For those in heavy industry, who are often blamed for
the dramatically increasing environmental damage, progress has been made but there is still
more that should be done to curb emission levels. Next, small to medium businesses have
the opportunity to make a huge difference in pollution levels whether encouraged
proactively, or reactively. Finally, a focus on the dramatic reach of the individual that is
essential for the halt in the warming of our planet is discussed.

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/impacts-adaptation/ecosystems.html

Copyright 2015 Jeffery Nevil

Heavy Industry
Humans are continuously striving to improve in almost every area possible. Although this has
seen some incredible feats with regards to breakthroughs in science and international
development, it has come at a cost. Industry in all developed countries contributes a huge
part of any countrys economy, and without it our world could not continue to function as
we know it. The cost, however, is that the energy we rely on to support this world is, in fact,
largely responsible for the demise of it. The production and use of fossil fuels such as
gasoline, coal, oil and other natural gases all result in the production of carbon dioxide,
which directly contributes to the greenhouse effect we are now desperately trying to avoid.
Heavy industry is not simply factories and shipping, however, there is almost a whole
separate economy within it. Some of the largest corporations involved in the energy industry
hold a monopoly of the worlds entire wealth. The annual economic contribution of just the
liner shipping industry alone in 2007 was 183.3 billion US dollars for instance.5 With such a
huge proportion of the worlds wealth there are of course dangers to be expected when
dealing with oil. Many offshore and onshore oil sources have been targeted
by pirates and hate crimes, with hostage situations being used to receive
huge monetary ransom. And although this has resulted in oil and gas
security companies being essential for any overseas oil organisation, there
still remains a danger to any person working on site due to the wealth and
controversy within the industry.
Aborting the use of the energy sector altogether is simply not an option, however. This
would not only severely harm our global economy, but also leave the world without a
sufficient energy source since no suitable alternatives have been found to cope with our
global demands. Whereas C02 emissions were forecast to increase by up to 90% from 2007
to 2050, with the adoption of energy efficient technologies there could be a 2.1GtC02 drop.6
Through increased awareness of the damage of global warming that is becoming more and
more prevalent, there are now certain movements aimed at restricting C02 emissions as
much as is possible. Although this is not enough to fully resolve the damage emissions have
caused thus far, it is a positive and proactive start.
The use of emission monitoring has been an effective way of controlling the levels of
emissions being released into the atmosphere. Continuous emission monitoring systems
(CEMS) have been excellent in providing a constant and reliable way of controlling this. The
2015 introduction of emission control areas (ECAs) will restrict all vessels travelling through
the Baltic and North Seas, North American and Canadian coastlines as well as the US

http://www.worldshipping.org/benefits-of-liner-shipping/global-economic-engine

https://workspace.imperial.ac.uk/climatechange/Public/pdfs/Briefing%20Papers/Reducing%20CO2%20emissi
ons%20from%20heavy%20industry_Briefing%20Paper%207.pdf

Copyright 2015 Jeffery Nevil

Caribbean Sea, to a 0.1% sulphur cap. This strict regulation shows that even the heaviest
industry has to listen to the crisis of global warming now. Although this may not seem to be
hugely significant when one considers the vast amount of damage done, Marine PR
specialist company Blue hosted a debate regarding ECA compliance. This signifies how big a
change this will be for the energy sector and the realisation that non-compliance is not an
option with regulators shows that it is being taken seriously.7
Regulators such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as part of the United
Nations are stepping up to the challenge of fighting global warming, but what we need is
more regulative bodies across further sectors taking this responsibility away from local
governing bodies and unto themselves. Although the new sulphur regulations are being
taken seriously, the fine for not adhering to them is not crippling so there are fears that they
could still be ignored.

http://www.blue-comms.com/the-risks-and-rewards-of-2015-eca-compliance/

Copyright 2015 Jeffery Nevil

Business
When it comes to smaller businesses and organisations there is a much larger and more
achievable scope through which to curb the emissions that are damaging our environment.
By December 2015, all companies with at least 250 employees or annual turnover of 42
million and above must complete a comprehensive audit of their energy use in a bid to
improve energy efficiency for larger corporations.8 The Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme
(ESOS) is in direct response to the EUs drive for energy efficiency led by the UK Environment
Agency. This mandatory assessment scheme can issue civil sanctions, including financial
penalties if any organisation does not comply. The ESOS scheme, much like the ECA in the
maritime sector, is laying the foundations towards fighting global warming, even just by
raising awareness of inefficiency. But by giving a potentially more damaging ultimatum to
profitable enterprises to cut their energy costs compared to that of the ECA penalties
(relative to the industry wealth) it is more likely to ensure compliance.
Smaller businesses are not under as much pressure to cut their emissions because the
individual company does not pose as much of a threat to the environment. However, on
masse it can do. Consequently there are still certain regulations such as environmental
permits and local authority regulations for businesses that may produce waste or emissions.
However, there is more of a proactive attitude to encourage greener working rather than
reactive punishment.
Government initiatives such as the Feed-in tariff are very effective as
they work to effectively reduce the use of fossil fuels, but they also
help smaller businesses cut costs rather than frighten them with fines.
For instance, a company looking to install biomass heating solutions
or solar power energy may get a reduced initial cost, either through
the government scheme or a private enterprise; they then look set to save thousands on
energy costs. Moreover, with the export tariff element of this scheme it is possible to sell any
surplus units not used back to an electricity supplier. Aside from the financial and
environmental incentives for getting businesses to go green, the government have
numerous other projects and collaborations focused on in their green economy policies.
There is also a social pressure on top of this financial relief persuading SMEs to look towards
greener energy sources as people are becoming increasingly aware of the damage heavy
industry and businesses are having. Recycling is now strongly encouraged across many
communities and local companies, as businesses that endorse this initiative are widely
respected. However, recycling 100% of all materials is not fully achievable in the UK and
many households and businesses frequently contribute to landfill sites which damage the
environment. Therefore, generating energy from waste is becoming a vastly more effective
and popular waste removal service. Where some businesses are unable to commit to their
8

http://www.pwemag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/1512/Tick_tock_85.html

Copyright 2015 Jeffery Nevil

own biomass fuel solution, now it is possible to employ professional waste management
companies to collect and dispose of commercial waste on your behalf.

Copyright 2015 Jeffery Nevil

Individuals
There still stands a common underestimation of the power of the individual in relation to the
global warming epidemic, especially if one considers the impact larger industry can have in
comparison. Yet it is estimated that merely boiling a kettle produces around 15g of carbon
dioxide, and a simple search using Google generates around 7g. So it is surprising how much
difference one can make when considering their carbon footstep once it is calculated by the
amount of electricity it takes to perform each activity.9
When broken down like this it becomes easy to see that each individual could contribute to
the decrease in carbon dioxide emission levels. Simply washing clothes at a cooler
temperature can reduce your use of hot water, as well as the energy used to produce it. This
alone can save most households at least 500 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.10 The
difference between businesses and households reducing their carbon footsteps primarily lies
in resources. Where a business can easily afford to employ professional waste management
and biomass heating solutions, often the majority of homeowners would struggle. While this
is understandable, many of the ways of reducing carbon emissions actually reduce costs too.
Using energy efficient lightbulbs or only having your heating on when youre at home will
dramatically decrease household and office bills. While car sharing
or public transport often significantly cuts petrol and car
maintenance costs. Even using energy from waste methods such as
biomass boilers and fuels can create income, as you can sell your
power to electricity companies, though after the initial set up costs.
The role of the individual in affecting global warming is
paramount to the success of the cause because, not only are they
part of heavy industry, as well as small businesses and large
businesses, they are also in charge of their own homes. For those
that are concerned about the damage we have done to our
environment; we can change our lightbulbs and recycle our waste,
yet it takes someone in each industry and business to get these movements started. If each
individual in society was educated in just how we are damaging the earth through carbon
emissions, landfill sites, browsing the web or boiling the kettle, we would stand a much
better chance of reducing the damage of climate change and global warming.

Organisations such as DoSomething.org and the Natural Resources Defense Council are just
two of those that are campaigning for individuals to take carbon emissions into their own
hands. You can calculate your household, shop or offices energy consumption through the
9

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/4217055/Two-Google-searches-produce-same-CO2-asboiling-a-kettle.html
10
http://environment.about.com/od/globalwarming/tp/globalwarmtips.htm

Copyright 2015 Jeffery Nevil

EPA emissions calculator where simply knowing how much energy you are using is the first
step to decreasing it.

Conclusion
It is clear that there is an international agreement, and it is humanitys responsibility to deal
with the carbon emissions that we are producing that are damaging the earth, although
there is speculation on how quickly and how effectively we can resolve it. We are now seeing
results of hundreds of years of damage at its upmost peak in terms of industry development,
and now something has to change to reverse it. Humans are incredibly adaptable and
intelligent and although creating a suitable alternative to fossil fuels is not impossible, it will
take time. Until this can be resolved without compromising the worlds economy, we must
continue to reduce the damage our current energy intake is causing.
Our main priority must be to continue with deliberate
consideration for our environment worldwide. This means
making a concentrated effort across large industries, using
technology and ECAs as purely a foundation to limit further
damage. Then, with medium to smaller corporations and
enterprises it is possible to use resources available to effectively
cut down on C02 emissions, yet still work effectively through creating energy from waste for
heating and power sources. Plus, if this eco-efficient method became widely used it could go
on to fuel further sources through the selling on of power. Finally, as the individual, whether
it be in factories, households, offices or on public transport, it is possible to save money as
well as valuable emissions that altogether would help to curb the crisis of our environment.

Copyright 2015 Jeffery Nevil